Canada’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

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In the United States, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act has received significant attention due to some recent high-profile prosecutions. Just to the North, there is the Canadian equivalent to the FCPA: the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act. It has not yet been a significant concern for most businesses that fall within its jurisdiction.

But that is likely to change.

The CFPOA was passed in 1999,  in ratification of the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

3.(1) Every person commits an offence who, in order to obtain or retain an advantage in the course of business, directly or indirectly gives, offers or agrees to give or offer a loan, reward, advantage or benefit of any kind to a foreign public official or to any person for the benefit of a foreign public official.

(a) as consideration for an act or omission by the official in connection with the performance of the official’s duties or functions; or

(b) to induce the official to use his or her position to influence any acts or decisions of the foreign state or public international organization for which the official performs duties or functions.

Canada has jurisdiction over the bribery of foreign public officials when the offense is committed in whole or in part in its territory. To be subject to the jurisdiction of Canadian courts, a significant portion of the activities constituting the offense must take place in Canada.

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2 Responses to Canada’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

  1. Bruce Carton October 13, 2009 at 8:59 am #

    “It has not yet been a significant concern for most businesses that fall within its jurisdiction.

    But that is likely to change.”

    Why do you believe that?

    • Doug Cornelius October 13, 2009 at 9:09 am #

      I have heard that Canada is looking at the success of the FCPA in the US and is looking to step up its enforcement. That is the same reason the SEC is increasing its focus on FCPA enforcement.

      Winning is good. If you have a law that you can successfully enforce, you are more likely to enforce it.

      Also, bribery is easy to explain and understand. That means you do not have to spend as much time explaining the law to the jurors.